Christmas Eve

by Heather Allen

The switch flicked on and he awoke to a fluorescent dawn
It was a steady sixty-eight degrees
Spring, he thought, or summer, or winter, or…

The ladies told him,
lift your legs, Kenneth,
hold your head up

Gravity had him paperweighted to his rolling chair
Body a mound of not-quite-but-almost dead weight
It had latched its fingers
to the prickly skin of his jowls
Every moment was the lurch
just inside the edge of dreaming
or the second after
foot misses step

As a young man he had fought cancer
his wife
the economy
Now he fought gravity with clenched  fists

Strangers used to visit
Young girls, all smooth skin and smiles
They’d kiss his cheeks, then disappear
for weeks
or months

Outside his bedroom door women rolled by
patting backs of baby dolls
mouths gaping
thin voices wailing

Outside his window
dark gray finches fought for seed
until the feeder was empty.

 

Heather Allen is a senior Creative Writing major at Central Michigan University, minoring in Media Design, Production, and Technology. Her poetry has been published previously in her university’s creative writing journal, The Central Review. She is from a small town in the center of Michigan’s palm.

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